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was bestowed, and not infrequently blankets and the most cherished bead-work belts and hat-bands. Custom makes the acceptance of these favors compulsory. Even the pale-faced visitors were asked to take part, and the Indians laughed like pleased children to welcome them to the dance. One very old squaw, Mrs. "Nine Pipes," took her blanket from her body and her 'kerchief from her head to give to her white partner, and a brave, having chosen a pale-faced lady for the figure, and being depleted in fortune by his generosity at a former festival, borrowed fifty cents from a richer companion to bestow upon her. It was all done in the best of faith and friendliness, with childlike good will and pleasure in the doing.
Then the next number was called; those who had been honored with invitations and gifts returned the compliment. After this was done, the Master of the Dance, Michel Kaiser, stepped into the center of the circle, saying in the deep gutturals of the Selish tongue, with all the pomp of one who makes a proclamation, something which may be broadly rendered into these English words:
"This brave, Jerome, chose for his partner, Mary, and gave to her a belt of beads, and Mary chose for her partner, Jerome, and gave to him a silken scarf."
Around the circumference of the great ring he moved, crying aloud the names of the braves and maids who had joined together in the dance, and holding up to view the presents they had exchanged.
The next in order was a dance of the chase by the four young men who had performed the war dance. In this, the hunter and the beast pursued, were impersonated, and the pantomime carried out every detail of the fleeing prey and the crafty huntsman who relentlessly drove him to earth.
The fourth measure was the scalp dance, given by the squaws, a rite anciently practiced by the female members of families whose lords had returned victorious from battle, bearing as trophies the scalps of enemies they had slain. It was considered an indignity and a matter of just reproach to husband or brother, if at squaw were unable to take part in this dance. The scalps captured in war were first displayed outside the lodges of the
warriors whose spoil they were, and after a time, when they began to mortify or "break down," as the Indians say, the triumphant squaws gathered them together, threw them into the dust and stamped on them, heaping upon them every insult, and in the weird ceremony of that ghoulish dance, consigning them to eternal darkness, for no brave without his scalp. could enter the Happy Hunting Ground. The chant changed in this figure. The voices of the women rose in a piercing falsetto, broken by a rapid utterance of the single syllable "la la," repeated an incredible length of time. The effect was singularly savage and strange, emphasizing the barbarous joy of the vengeful women. As the war dance was the call to battle, this was the aftermath. In pleasing contrast to this cruel rite was the marriage dance, celebrated by both belles and braves. The young squaws, in their gayest attire, ornamented with the best samples of their bead work and painted bright vermillion about the lips cheeks, formed a chain around the tomtom, singing shrilly. Then a brave with a party of his friends stepped within the circle, bearing in his hand a stick, generally a small branch of pine or other native tree. He approached the object of his love, and laid the branch on her shoulder. shoulder. If she rejected his suit she pushed it aside, and he, with his followers, retired in humiliation and chagrin. It often happened that more than one youth desired the hand of the same maiden, and the place of the rejected lover was taken immediately by a rival who made his prayer. If the maid looked with favor upon him she inclined her head, laying her cheek upon the branch. This was at once the betrothal and the marriage. At the close of the festivities the lover bore her to his lodge, and they were considered man and wife.
After these figures had been repeated many times and twilight stole down with purple shadows over valley and hill, the music and the dancing ceased and the Indians held their feast. The fare was simple enough-canned salmon and crackers, wild berries and a drink made squaws, called "Indian ice-cream-but they laughed over it and chatted as gaily as though the old times of bison banquets.
were come again. Yet amid the merrymakers there were those who did not share in the mirth. They were some of the older men; those with gray locks, wrinkled cheeks and hunted eyes.
I went to one of the younger women, the daughter of Francois, whose convent education gave her a fair command of English, and asked her how the Indians felt about the opening of the reservation. She shook her head regretfully, and her glance sought out her father, Francois, toothless, white-haired, yet laughing with a group of the dancers.
There was no bitterness in her expression or her tone-only infinite regret.
The Indians began to stir. They rose from the earth like ghosts from their graves, for the light was gone from the sunset skies and night was at hand. Through the evening calm, the monotonous chant shrilled weirdly, and the tomtom vibrated with the regularity of a pulse-beat. And as that strange, unearthly measure swelled, then died in the engulfing night, it seemed as though the ancestral voices of these doomed children of the wild joined with them in a lament
upland and foothill. As early as last summer the stage coach that crosses the reservation from Ravalli to the Flathead Lake, bore strange passengers, each with keen, commercial eye measuring the wild grain, taking note of the quality of the soil, of everything, indeed, but the majesty of nature and the Indians shrinking back in their tepees. It was a motley company. A Yale instructor with red vandvke, checked cap and collegiate air, sat beside the driver and exhibited his ignorance of things Western by naive questions that stirred the aforesaid driver's sullen scorn. Moreover, the professor. could not solve the problem of western gates, no two of which ever seem to be alike, and he was secretly afraid of the Indians, weaknesses which brought him continually into disgrace. There were besides, two Canadian women, a mother and daughter from the Saskatchewan, who calculated mentally, the largeness of prospertive crops (always comparing the possibilities here disparagingly with those across the border), and by way of diversion looking for desperadoes who might hold up the coach. They, too, were afraid of the Indians, never seeing the humor of the situation, and how it was the Indians who had cause to fear them and their predatory kind.
The one self-evident fact was this: the home-seekers were not oppressed sons of toil striving for emancipation from poverty through the bounty of a few tilled acres; they were of the dilettante, speculating sort like the professor, or the hard, shrewd type of the two Canadians. They were each and all mastered by a single idea that of getting in and gobbling up the best. It was the Indians crowded out by these adventurers who were poor. They peddled trifles made of beads and at the store upon the lake shore the proprietor told of how even the Nez Perce women were exchanging their prized corn husk bags for food.
Yet, soaring above such earthly sordidness, the range of Sin-val-min rose heavenward, mingling its silver halo of snow with the floating clouds. The virgin valley flowed away in waves of green, and far away the lake shone bright as a polished sabre in the sun. An occasional
tepee dotted the valley, its smoke-wreath curling lazily upward, its blanketed tenant bending over the camp-fire or resting in the shade. And sometimes a half-breed cowboy, clad in bright-hued neckerchief and chaparejos, rode with level swiftness across the prairie and disappeared.
The home-seekers noticed none of these things. That commercialism which sees only horse-power in Niagara Falls, square feet of lumber in the Sequoias, and potatoproducing possibilities in the fairest valleys, was already up and abroad in the land.
Yes! There will be great rejoicing in the autumn. The movement of elbowing crowds will be seen, the scrutiny of calculating eyes that reckon profits to a nicety will be felt, the ploughshare and the harvester will uproot the old and garner the new, and all will be well! But far off, obscure, unheeded, securely silenced by the poor bribe of a patch of ground already his own, will be the Indian, metamorphosed into a farmer, ready to compete with the incoming world, to be "absorbed" into our great, tolerant and free civilization.
We call ourselves a humane nation; the Civil War was fought and won to free the slave from bondage; the war with Spain was instigated by sympathy for the Cubans, but what about the Indians? If ever God-given charge was imposed upon the stronger shoulders of a dominant race, that charge is ours, and it is an obligation. neglected, unfulfilled. We have espoused the cause of down-trodden aliens while we, ourselves, have crushed those who, before us, were masters of the land.
There is another side to the reservation question worth pondering upon. And as the conquering hosts of peace march in to take possession, may it not be well for them to remember that they tread over broken hearts and despoiled homes, to a doubtful material reward, that timid shadow-shapes watch with the hollow gaze of soulless despair the desecration of hallowed ground beneath the leveling plow? And may it be that for the white man, whose steady hand guides the relentless blade, there will be besides the crop of oats and corn, a harvest of unrest-the melancholy of haunting dreams?
BY AMOS GEORGE
E CAME to Verde Grande with fulldress, gold braid and brass and cosmetics enough to stock the post. The flavor of commencement was upon his person and he carried about straw colored hair, a delicate complexion, and the West Point accent, all of which were acceptable on "ladies' nights."
Then one day he got his name—and some other things. With good intentions enough, the General sent this shave-tail out with a squad of regulars to clean up a handful of Indian scouts up in the old burying ground where they had been raising dust around the out-pickets. The job was bigger than the old man thought, and for a while it was every man for himself. When the horizon was clear of obstructions the men came back to look for their officer, and they found him-flat on his face behind an old grave mound, white and shaking, and that fixed it. It wasn't just a square deal for the child, but they thought he needed a taste of work, and that the old vets would take care of him, and they did! When he was about, they laid low, but everywhere else he was Tombstone Johnny for life.
Not that he accepted the title with good grace who said he did? He smarted and he sweated and he swore, and he began to fail to keep on hand a good stock of pain killer-it evaporated too fast! Wherefore his step was not always as steady, nor his breath as mild, as might have been, and he began to look frayed out and seedy, and he forgot the accent. But then what could a shave-tail do when he knew that he was afraid, and when the non-coms grinned and the officers lost their tongues every time he came about? The branding iron feels fine on the other calf.
This might have been the end of the
story, but Lieutenant Jergensen was clipped by a sharp-shooter up at the reservation, and reported at the division hospital for repairs. This left the camp
without a commissioned officer, and the General took pity on Tombstone Johnny and sent him across the State line with instructions in military form, which, being translated, meant that he was to hustle along and take command of the camp. The old man had a suspicion that there might be stuff in the kid somewhere down under that complexion, and this would give him another try. The fact that the garrison consisted of one
company whose captain was on detached service brought a grain of comfort to the tormented lieutenant. "Anywhere, out of sight," he groaned.
At Santa Rosia, he climbed down with three suit-cases and watched the train fade away into the mirage. Then he looked at his two trunks lying on the platform and inquired about the stage. Nothing doing till to-morrow, but the "Red-eyed Rodeo" was just across the street-and why should the spirit of mortal be sad with a month's pay in pocket?
When he was able to be out again, the stage was twenty-four hours away, and Camp McBain was thirty-five miles over the range. The one liveryman of Santa Rosia looked him over critically and stated that he had no horses to hire today, but that a freighter had left that morning for Verdugo, which was half way, and as for the other eighteen miles, the walking was purty fair, and the baggage could come by stage next week.
This is how it happened that Second Lieutenant John W. Bates, otherwise known as Tombstone Johnny, might have been seen equipped with his orders and two black bottles, astride the nigh wheeler, reflecting on the vicissitudes of life and breathing volumes of alkali dust. Since the teamster was likewise parched of
throat, the black bottles did a steady business till the driver got happy and Tombstone Johnny held onto the hames of his mule with both hands.
They made Verdugo late, and in as much as the Palace Hotel had not yet arrived, the military man slept on the straw pile at the feed yard. They got him out in the morning, and he blinked stupidly over the ham-and-eggs at the grub shack, an ere the sun was an hour high, it met a weary pilgrim, foot sore and red-eyed, making his painful way along the shortcurtrail over the mountain to the reservation. The sight would have thrilled the hearts of his tormentors. His cup of miserv was dripping over the brim, and a bitter hatred of all the earth and the fullness thereof had eaten into his soul. Two months away from graduation and compliments and congratulations and senior functions and button-and-braid and brass bands. It all looked like Heaven now, and here he was in Hell, and all because he had stubbed his foot and stumbled in that old Verde Grande cemetery. How was a gentleman at West Point to know that war was Hell, and that Indians could shoot straight at him? How was he to know that the life of an army officer was not made up of cotillions and receptions and reviews? Over and over these things turned themselves in his befogged mind till he stopped and swore weakly and wearily, and then he stumbled on again.
Over the first range the trail winds down to Sand Creek. Sand Creek is not famed for its beauty, but at one p. m. its muddy bed looked like Paradise to a man with smarting eyes. blistered feet, and burning thirst. For a black bottle
has its peculiarity; it leaves its devotee with a throat like a volcano's bed, and no drop of water touches the trail between Verdugo and the creek. But here was water, and shade, and soft sand, and all nature was saying, "Here's a place to rest."
"Seemsh to me ish time to go swimming." he said. "Good swim, cool bath, level head, ish great idea. Now I lay
He hung his uniform carefully on the willows, and then he crept to the water. The sand was comfortable, and he sat
down. Five minutes later the woodpecker stopped drumming on the old stump and looked curiously down at the underclad figure, from which strange sounds came with the regularity of a monster asleep.
In three hours a dry throat stuck him with needles till he rolled over and felt for the black bottle in the place where he had last carried it. There was no bottle there! Worse still, there was no pocket. He fumbled at the place a long time, and then sat up on the sand bank and looked down at the water. "Nish cool water," he muttered. "Good wet wasser-awful bad for stomach, though," he groaned. After awhile he looked down at his underclothes and then up on the bank where hung his-but they didn't hang there. Instead there lay a pile of old khaki on the ground and a trim-clad Lieutenant sitting on the log, who garded him with amused curiosity.
This was interesting. He chuckled a while in silence, and then his hand came slowly to his head, and he stiffly saluted. "Morning, Lieutenant," he said. “Why donsh you returns salute?" he demanded with show of petty wrath. "I teash you, sir."
The stranger arose, too, and spoke. "Don't move, sir, you're covered." Tombstone Johnny opened his mouth, and for astonishment forgot to close it. The uniform was his, the cap was his, the revolver was his; if that were himself, then he had changed a good deal since he lay down on the bank of Sand Creek. And if that were Lieutenant Bates, how in thunder did he "Oh, I see," he sputtered in sudden excitement. "Thash Lieutenant Bates, this ish Tombstone Johnny. But who the devil ish these old clothes?"
"Put on those clothes and be mighty quick about it," commanded the stranger.
Tombstone Johnny looked at the bedraggled uniform of the man on the line, and his blood pounded into his alleged brain and he rose in wrath. "Give me my gun," he sputtered. "And you go to the devil. You got my clothes yourself, you old--"
The revolver came up. "Not so fast, my little man," the other said slowly and easily. "You're my game now, you know. Respect for your superiors is the first principle of military regulations. If you're